New Maslon partner Jevon Bindman was weighing whether to specialize in a practice area or “specialize in being a generalist.”
Bindman’s verdict? To pursue the generalist role.
He explored the subject in an article he wrote with Minnesota Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson, for whom Bindman clerked in the 2014-15 term. The article appeared in the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bench & Bar of Minnesota publication.
Bindman has focused on construction and insurance as subspecialties. He also does appellate work, where as a generalist he can handle almost any subject that arises. Specializing could limit opportunities for Bindman, who has taken three cases to jury verdict, to do more trial work.
Bindman serves on two Supreme Court advisory committees, on rules of evidence and rules of civil procedure. He and Maslon partner Erica Holzer have assumed some of the late David Herr’s writing duties, with Bindman co-authoring the 2023 edition of the “Courtroom Handbook of Minnesota Evidence.”
Name: Jevon Bindman
Title: Partner, Maslon
Education: B.A., music, Cornell University; master of music, Michigan State University; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law
Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?
A: Probably home renovations. My wife and I have been bit by bit renovating our house for the last seven or eight years. We’re pretty close to being done, which is lucky because with the kids we’ve slowed down quite a bit.
Q: Why law school?
A: I was a public school teacher before law school, teaching choir and other music classes. I wanted a job that would use more of the problem-solving and critical thinking parts of my brain. My wife was studying for the LSAT, and I enjoyed the way those questions were phrased and thinking through the issues. That put the thought in my head. A couple of years later, that experience sparked a decision to move forward with it.
Q: What are you reading?
A: Ron Chernow’s “Grant” biography. Underrated president, a fascinating life, from total obscurity to the most famous person in the country in a matter of years. “The Tipping Point,” about human behavior and how to grow an idea from infancy to something widely known. The “Foundation” series by Isaac Asimov. The idea that you can predict the future through social science and psychology was fascinating.
Q: Pet peeve?
A: The work-related one is not following through on promises. The most important currency that we have in the legal profession is saying we’re going to do something and then doing it. I’ll add that talking on a cell phone in a public place just drives me nuts.
Q: Best part of your work?
A: Thinking critically about complex issues and figuring out how to persuade people to agree with my conclusions.
Q: Most challenging?
A: I’m bad at multitasking so I need to remind myself to focus on one thing at a time.
Q: Favorite activity away from work?
A: Spending as much time with my kids as I can. Being physically active — biking, exercising, playing in the snow.
Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?
A: A St. Paul Chamber Orchestra concert. I’m on its governing board. It’s the only full-time professional chamber orchestra in the country, and provides a variety of ensemble sizes and attention to lesser-known composers.
Q: Legal figure you most admire?
A: Benjamin Cardozo, for his writing. I’m extrapolating here, but I feel like he believed that the way you say something matters.
Q: Misconception that others have about your work?
A: Spending time in the courtroom. [The last week of January] was the first time I stepped foot into the Hennepin County Courthouse in about four years. So much of our time is focused on reading and writing and thinking through issues.
Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?
A: “The Trial” by Franz Kafka. The concept of being aware of the charges against you is the foundation of our legal system, and the book is a terrifying glimpse into a world where even that baseline expectation is eliminated.